Hypovolemia in Infants
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hypovolemia is a low level of fluid in the body. Lower levels of blood make it difficult to get nutrients and oxygen to the entire body. Hypovolemia will affect the entire body but certain organs are at higher risk of damage. Organs that are very active like the heart, kidney, brain, and liver may be affected the most.
This condition is serious. It requires immediate care.
Hypovolemia may be caused by:
Factors that increase your baby’s risk of getting hypovolemia include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your baby’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your doctor may check your baby’s blood flow by putting pressure on a nail bed.
Talk with your baby’s doctor about the best treatment plan.
Replacing Fluids and Improving Blood Flow
Your baby may have:
Your baby’s legs may also be elevated. This will increase the amount of blood going to the heart and brain.
Managing the Underlying Cause
Additional treatment will depend on the cause of hypovolemia:
There is no known way to prevent hypovolemia. It is important to notice signs of dehydration and begin treatment right away.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatric Society
Sick Kids—The Hospital for Sick Children
Day R, Paul P, Williams B. Textbook of Canadian Medical-Surgical Nursing. 2nd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009. Available at:
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Accessed September 25, 2017.
Dehydration and hypovolemia in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated May 9, 2016. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2014
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